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Going Mobile – Warminster

This blog first appeared on the LINE website on November 29th 2010.

Charlotte Marshall, LINE’s Defence Business Development Manager, was amongst a team who attended the Force Development Training (FDT) Conference in Warminster.

LINE was amongst the select few companies invited to exhibit at the Conference at the Land Warfare Centre, Warminster last week. Over 150 delegates attended including senior commanders and heads of establishment and it gave LINE an opportunity to update key decision makers on our most recent content and mobile apps.

It was obvious from the popularity of our stand that LINE clearly has a strong reputation and an established presence in the mobile learning area. The majority of the delegates had already heard of LINE and the Fire Control Orders (FCO) iPad project which LINE developed with the Royal School of Artillery (RSA). Those attending wanted to see the application and to talk to us about how this technology could be utilised elsewhere in defence.

Steve Barden, Brian Lynch and I were accompanied by two representatives from the RSA, RSMI Neil Fowler and Sergeant-Major Nathan Stevenson. LINE’s stand was popular during the breakout sessions of the conference. Colonels and Generals from the tri-services and from Europe were keen to get their hands on the iPads to see the FCO app for themselves and to talk about how mobile technology could enhance the way they worked and trained.
defence training
iPads set up and ready for the delegates

Take this scenario for instance – I remember having a conversation with one of the attending Colonels who told me that to update a policy document it normally costs around £70k. Because of the expense his department could only afford to issue three amendments per year, and an amendment could take up to three months to filter to all personnel.
defence training

The solution to this issue was already on the iPads in the shape of our FCO, Cultural Awareness and Self Loading Dumper Truck SLDT(P) applications – with PDF documents and application user guides included.

Hefty documents that are expensive to update, reproduce, reprint and then redistribute can be turned into elegant and interactive PDFs that take up no space, can be updated in seconds and be securely stored on a device such as the iPad. And more critically, this can all be done at a fraction of the cost of the print-based versions.

The potential for mobile devices in learning and development is massive, with an unending list of functional possibilities. It’s great to see this realisation dawn on an individual, especially when they have a specific quandary – such as many documents to update with a strict budget. This realisation was something I frequently witnessed in our discussions with the delegates. I find it equally enjoyable when you speak to those individuals who already train using mobile platforms. They become advocates and their success stories hammer home how ‘mobile’ is the solution to some key training necessities. To name but a few; improving learner interaction, reducing skills fade, increasing learner enjoyment, improving knowledge retention, and of course they can be created and updated on a far smaller budget.

Since the release of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and the cuts to the Defence budget, the need for better, smarter, faster, and cheaper training is more prevalent than ever. The effective deployment of mobile learning technologies within defence is a key strategic driver which supports increased levels of learner engagement and the maximisation of value for money.